How do the themes in A Midsummer Night's Dream relate to twenty-first century audiences?
The process of falling in love is no less complicated today than it was when Shakespeare developed his comic portrayal of the potential challenges in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Twenty-first century audiences can still identify with parental disapproval of a child's choice of mate,
Full of vexation come I, with complaint Against my child, my daughter Hermia. Stand forth, Demetrius. My noble lord, This man hath my consent to marry her. Stand forth, Lysander: and my gracious duke, This man hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child;
with miscommunications causing complications and confusion, and with well-intentioned efforts to correct problems that go awry.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I shew'd thee once: The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid Will make or man or woman madly dote Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Beyond the eternal interest in all aspects of the subject of love, Shakespeare draws in the question of dreams and the interpretation of their meaning, the challenges of finding adequate actors and appreciative audiences, and the human enjoyment of an eventual resolution of all the complications and a chance for lovers to live happily ever after.